SA sister follows brother to rowing world championship medal

Rowers Jessica Schoonbee and her partner Tayla-May Bentley landed SA’s only medal of the regatta at Sarasota-Bradenton in the US.
Rowers Jessica Schoonbee and her partner Tayla-May Bentley landed SA’s only medal of the regatta at Sarasota-Bradenton in the US.
Image: Jessica Schoonbee/Facebook

Like sister like brother.

Rower Jessica Schoonbee has won an under-23 world championship silver medal — just like her older brother Kyle two years earlier.

Schoonbee and Tayla-May Bentley landed SA’s only medal of the regatta at Sarasota-Bradenton in the US at the weekend‚ finishing second in the women’s pairs to become the country’s first female heavyweights to make the podium at the age-group showpiece.

Lightweights Kirsty McCann and Nicole van Wyk are the only other women to have scooped silverware at under-23 level.

Kyle‚ now a key member of the senior men’s four‚ took silver in the U23 single sculls in Bulgaria in 2017.

Schoonbee and Bentley‚ who study and train together in Michigan‚ were the first US-based rowers to be picked for a national team‚ with all the other members based in SA.

Only two other SA boats made A-finals at the weekend.

The men’s coxed four ended fifth while Charles Brittain‚ the U23 world champion with James Mitchell in the men’s pair last year‚ ended fourth alongside Luc Dafarn this time‚ more than four seconds off the podium.

Brittain comes from the royal family of SA rowing‚ with his older brothers‚ Olympic medallists Matthew and Lawrence‚ also having collected U23 world championship gongs in the past.

Luckily for Charles‚ Lawrence and Matthew also competed at U23 championships where they failed to win medals.

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